An actress, best-selling author, businesswoman and active fundraiser, Presley was in Iowa to kick off The Des Moines Register's Smart Talk Women's Lecture Series Monday night.
"I'm here to share with you this life I've been very fortunate to have," Presley said, adding, "And by the way, Elvis says hi."
Much of Presley's talk focused on how she met and fell in love with Pfc. Elvis Presley when she was a 14-year-old Air Force brat living in Germany.
"He was so beautiful," she recalled. "I thought, 'What does a 14-year-old kid do with this?'"
Explaining how she returned to Elvis' Graceland estate and led the "double life" of "schoolgirl by day, sequined gowns by night," Presley confessed,
"being with Elvis was just about every schoolgirl's fantasy."
But their life together wasn't all bliss, Presley admitted, referring to his erratic behavior, their well-publicized divorce and his untimely death.
"I lost a lifelong partner," she said. "I remember thinking, 'How can I go on without him?'"
Presley also sent a firm message of support to the mostly female audience, recommending they follow her lead and allow their bad experiences to strengthen rather than beat them.
"You need to follow your dreams and follow your passions, and you need to aim high," Presley said.